To my darling daughter,
You are about to embark on a pretty tricky period. In many ways you are in-between two worlds. You are no longer a child but you are not yet an adult. It’s all part of growing up and TOTALLY normal, but don’t be surprised if things feel a little uncertain and unstable as you transition from tween to teen.
It’s actually a REALLY exciting time, even though it might be bumpy at times. Often changes that are hard are a time of tremendous growth. Just remember this: “You grow through what you go through.”
There are a few things I want to mention about this time of transition. You don’t have to respond to me but do me a favour and please keep this somewhere safe. Then, when you need it, you can re-read it and hopefully feel better for it.
A word on friendships
Find friends with true hearts and love them long and loyally. Seek out respectful friendships. The friends that cheer you on, and the ones that always have your back. And also the ones that make you laugh and are fun. You may find that friendships become a little “tricky” during this period. You might find you have less in common now than what you did previously, or you may find yourself attracted to new people.
You already know what a “good friend” looks like, so trust your gut and recognise when a friendship doesn’t feel good. And please, call out mean girl behaviour. It is not acceptable, and I want you to be the person that stands up to it. Know this: life is too short for friendship dramas. As Mother Theresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”
Know your boundaries and remember that it’s perfectly OK, and indeed appropriate at times, to say “No” (hard when you’re a people pleaser, I know!) Boundaries can be physical, emotional or spiritual, and are crucial to living your own true life.
Compare and despair
One of my favourite sayings is by Theodore Roosevelt and it goes like this: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Well, my darling daughter, I want your life to be filled with bucket loads of joy, but comparison will rob you of joy so please resist the urge to compare. In my day (I know, I sound really old) comparison existed but on a narrower scale. Of course there were girls who I thought were prettier than me, smarter than me, “cooler” than me, but it wasn’t a constant noise in my life.
Soon you’ll have access to social media where comparison-itis is RIFE! Don’t fall into the trap of “compare and despair” (easier said than done, I know). Life on the ‘gram is not always what it pretends to be. So, get ‘media-literate’ and don’t be fooled by what appears to be the perfect life. You’re smart enough to know that social media is a place of curated feeds, filtered selfies and “highlights reels”. And remember to present your true self too. Social media should reflect the REAL you, not a fake persona you invent. It won’t get you more likes, and you won’t feel authentic. Know that you are good enough just the way YOU ARE. Better than good enough, you are perfect.
Be yourself…everyone else is taken
Don’t change to fit a mould. Don’t shrink to fit in. Don’t be silent when you have something to say. Don’t be scared to try new things. And more importantly, don’t be afraid of failure. Sticking with what’s familiar can feel like the safest and easiest option, but not challenging yourself might mean you limit yourself from other opportunities and adventures.
Seek out opportunities that stretch you. Start small, expect to make mistakes (read: growing opportunities). Have adventures, take leaps, and embrace risks. And know that failure is a bruise, not a tattoo. Learn to pick yourself up and try again. Dream, dare, seek and stay TRUE to YOU!
A word on beauty
Sadly we live in a culture that reminds girls at every turn that their primary value is in their looks. But fortunately you are way smarter and savvier to know that your mind, heart and soul matter more. You don’t need to look or act a certain way to be beautiful.
Beauty is made up of wonderful minds, kind souls and generous laughter. Not golden skin or blonde hair, or straight teeth. Don’t seek validation elsewhere, seek it from within. Love your body for what it can do, not what it looks like. And remember, confidence is the most beautiful thing you can possess.
My love is unconditional
There is nothing you can do or say that would make me love you any less. There is no mistake you can make that you can’t tell me about. There is nothing so terrible or damaging that is irreparable. There is no achievement you need to reach to make me more proud of you. There is no path you need to take to please me.
When you were born, the world rebooted, and my heart permanently cracked open. My love isn’t conditional. Know that I will always have your back. I will be here cheering you on. I love you more than I can express.
Love Mama xx